(photo credit: PR)
Israeli online public relations are frequently disparaged, especially during
times of crisis, such as last year’s Gaza flotilla or Operation Cast Lead in
early 2009. There is often a sense that that battle is lost and that the echoes
of the anti-Israeli position are spread effectively and quickly
online. However, a new study by the Pew Research Center found a contrary
and pro-Israeli reality.
The study examined the online conversation in
the week following US President Barack Obama’s May 19 address on the Middle
East, in which he declared his support for negotiations on the basis of the 1967
borders. The study found that the tone to conversation on blogs, Twitter and
Facebook was positive on the Israeli position.
Fifty-five percent of the
of the conversation on blogs on the issue has been in favor of Israel and
opposed to a move to the 1967 borders, while 19% has been in favor of the
Palestinians and the creation of an independent state. About a quarter, 27%, was
neutral, the Pew Research Center reported.
The results on Twitter and
Facebook were similar: 60% of the conversation was pro-Israel, compared with 20%
pro-Palestinian and 20% neutral.
The survey by the Pew Research Center’s
Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index examined 48,000 blog
posts and 430,000 posts on Twitter or Facebook during the week following May
Compared with similar surveys of online conversations following
controversial political events, the conversation on the Israeli-Palestinian
issue ignites more opinionated responses and fewer messages referring to pure
The Pew Research Center said social-media users who sided with
Israel had criticized Obama for not backing the US ally strongly enough and
consequently not upholding American values. Many used phrases such as Obama had
“thrown Israel under the bus,” or had “stabbed Israel in the
Supporters of the Palestinians were mostly critical of Israel’s
actions and declared that Israel continues to be an occupying power backed by
the US. Some were critical of Obama for backing Israel too strongly and not